“Brightness, lustre and shine: colour in the medieval household”.

Our knowledge and perception of colour is extremely different from that of the medieval mind and therefore to understand colour we must look at how everyday domestic features were decorated and used in the later medieval period. Lustre and shine were more important in the medieval world than the hue of colour, and within the domestic sphere the use of illumination from windows and fires would have been an important factor in the perception of colour. In households the colours of material culture, including furniture, paintings, decor, clothing, ceramics and other objects, were an essential component in how material was experienced in the everyday.

We are seeking papers from research students, early career entrants, established researchers and those working within the professional and public archaeology sectors, as well as the museum’s service, who are studying domestic material culture and using the aspects of colour and lustre within their research. Papers are invited on aspects of material culture studies dealing with these issues and papers on related topics such as light, vision and pattern are welcome too. The session hopes to encompass the whole of the medieval period, from post-Roman to the late medieval/ post-medieval transition with particular attention to the later medieval period, and papers are welcome on the archaeology of Britain, Europe or beyond. It is hoped that this session will be a platform for discussion on how we can approach the study of colour in the domestic household through artefacts, paintings, decor, clothing or the use of lighting. How can we make inferences about how colours were used, perceived, and the visual impact, symbolic connotations and meanings which they held in the medieval period?

See following link: TAG Conference 2008 sessions